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|" BAGHDADCAIRO Cheap New York Jets Jerseys , Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Tensions are flaring up asIraqi Kurds are set to hold a controversial independence referendumnext week, raising fears that it could open a Pandora's box ofviolence and conflicts.
Amid signs of heightened tensions, a curfew was imposed Tuesdayin the ethnically-mixed northern city of Kirkuk, after one waskilled and three others wounded when Turkmen security guardsexchanged gunfire with some Kurds celebrating the upcomingvote.
The shooting came after a suicide car bombing that rocked Kirkukon Saturday, in which three people were killed and nine otherswounded.
On Monday, Iraq's Supreme Court issued a verdict to suspend thereferendum in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region slated for Sept.25 Cheap New York Giants Jerseys , in response to the Kurdistan Parliament's vote on Friday toapprove holding the referendum as scheduled.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who dismissed thereferendum as unconstitutional, has warned that Baghdad is ready touse force if the referendum turns violent.
A new conflict will not only hinder Iraq's plan forreconciliation and reconstruction at a time when the war-torncountry is near achieving full victory in defeating the terrorgroup Islamic State (IS), but also sow new seeds of violence andinstability in the already chaotic Middle East.
MAJOR REASONS BEHIND IRAQI KURDS' PUSH FOR INDEPENDENCEREFERENDUM
Iraqi Kurds have a century-long dream of creating a Kurdishstate in areas they control, which now have expanded to includemany oil-rich areas that Kurdish fighters took over from ISmilitants over the past years.
The Kurds now want the northern oil-rich province of Kirkuk andparts of Nineveh, Diyala and Salahudin provinces to be incorporatedinto their region.
The Kurds used to live under the iron-fisted rule by formerIraqi President Saddam Hussein. But since the end of the U.S.-ledfirst Gulf War in 1991 Cheap New Orleans Saints Jerseys , they have gained a high degree ofautonomy.
Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government,has been the leading figure pushing hard for the independencereferendum.
For one reason, Barzani, leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party(KDP), has exceeded his term in office that ended in 2015 Cheap New England Patriots Jerseys , andhoped to start the process of seeking independence before the nextelections scheduled in early November.
Moreover, many believe that Barzani hopes to take advantage ofthe referendum to establish his status as the leader of the Kurdishindependence movement.
""Barzani wants to accomplish independence through referendum andgain a political card in the region as the leader of the Kurdishmovement,"" Nursin Atesoglu Guney, dean of the economic,administrative and social sciences faculty at Bahcesehir CyprusUniversity in Istanbul, was quoted by the Turkish paper Daily Sabahas saying.
REFERENDUM AS FIRST CONCRETE STEP TOWARD KURDISHINDEPENDENCE
A ""yes"" vote in the upcoming referendum does not mean theimmediate independence of the Kurdistan region. Rather Cheap Minnesota Vikings Jerseys , it would bethe first concrete step in the Kurdish movement toward declaringindependence.
Such vote would give the Kurdistan Regional Governmentconsiderable bargain power to hold negotiations with the Iraqigovernment on the distribution of oil revenues, and control of somedisputed territories.
In addition to the lack of international support, inner frictionis also an obstacle to declaring independence by the KurdistanRegional Government.
Though the KDP spearheaded the bid to hold the referendum, theopposition Kurdish parties such as the Change Movement and theKurdistan Islamic Group have called for postponing the referendumand letting the Kurdistan Parliament to make the decision bypassing a law.
As the two parties boycotted, 68 lawmakers of the 111-seatparliament did not show up for the vote on Friday.
Analysts said that even the Kurds finally split from Iraq, lifewould be very difficult for a newly-created Kurdish state as itsterritory is geographically landlocked.
Despite its rich oil resources Cheap Miami Dolphins Jerseys , the region relies heavily on theIraq-Turkey pipeline to export its oil, which could be closed byTurkey if it breaks away from Iraq.
POTENTIAL IMPACT ON MIDDLE EAST PEACE AND STABILITY
The international community, especially Turkey, Iran and theUnited States, has voiced strong opposition to the referendum.
Indeed, the referendum Cheap Los Angeles Rams Jerseys , whose result is widely predicted to be a""yes"" vote, could have a potentially destabilizing effect on thealready chaotic Middle East region.
First, a ""yes"" vote will damage Iraq's unity and territorialintegrity. The separation of the oil-rich Kurdish region is set todeal a heavy blow to the country politically and economically,while it is still reeling from wars and terror attacks.
If the Iraqi government intervenes militarily, a bloody conflictcould be inevitable as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, known for theircapability in fighting IS militants Cheap Los Angeles Chargers Jerseys , will prove to be a viableenemy for Iraqi government forces.
Second, the referendum could aggravate the infighting within theKurdistan region, especially between the two major factions the KDPand the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, as they could vie for thecontrol of the government and oil like in the 1990s when they hadan armed conflict.
There are also worries that violence could erupt between thepredominantly Sunni Kurds and ethnic minorities including ShiiteMuslims and Turkmens, due to their different positions on thereferendum and other feuds.
Third, Iraqi Kurds' independence movement could inspire otherKurds living in neighboring countries Cheap Kansas City Chiefs Jerseys , adding to the chaos andinstability that have already plagued the Middle East.
Behind the warnings by Iraq's neighboring countries such asTurkey, Iran and Syria lies the deep worry that Iraqi Kurds'success in seeking independence would have a domino effect thatthreatens their own territorial integrity.
Kurds make up ab